NEPA Scene Staff

Breaking Ground Poets hold Dialogue Arts Festival with performances and workshops in Tunkhannock April 7-8

Breaking Ground Poets hold Dialogue Arts Festival with performances and workshops in Tunkhannock April 7-8
Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size Text Size Print This Page

From a press release:

Local youth poetry group the Breaking Ground Poets will launch their second Dialogue Arts Festival, subtitled “Life as Primary Text,” at the Tunkhannock Public Library on Friday, April 7 and at Tunkhannock Area High School on Saturday, April 8.

The festival is facilitated by the internationally acclaimed spoken word poets Adam Falkner, Lauren Whitehead, Aziza Barnes, and Caroline Rothstein.

Friday night’s performances will take place at the Tunkhannock Public Library (220 W. Tioga St., Tunkhannock) at 6 p.m.-8:30 p.m., while Saturday’s writing workshops are open to teens 13-19 and will take place at the Tunkhannock Area High School (135 Tiger Dr., Tunkhannock) from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Tickets are $10 and can be purchased in advance via Brown Paper Tickets.

Katie Wisnosky, founder of the Breaking Grounds Poets and coordinator of the festival, said, “The festival will use creative writing and critical dialogue to bring communities together around conversations of identity that are often characterized by silence.”

The Dialogue Arts Project partners with organizations to create energizing training experiences in order to help participants collaborate and communicate more effectively across lines of social identity. DAP’s leading-edge workshops use the arts as a shared entry point into critical discourses around identity to increase awareness of self and social diversity. By combining performance, participant art creation, and facilitated dialogue, DAP seeks to reinvent the current “diversity training” experience for a wide array of clients ranging from university faculty, teachers-in-training, student leadership groups, and employees of Fortune 500 companies and nonprofit organizations.

Adam Falkner is an artist, educator, and consultant. His work has appeared in a range of literary and academic journals and has also been featured on HBO, NBC, NPR, BET, Upworthy, in the New York Times, and elsewhere. He is the founder and executive director of the pioneering diversity consulting initiative, the Dialogue Arts Project, and chief operating officer of Urban Word NYC, a nationally acclaimed youth literary arts organization.

A former high school English teacher in New York City’s public schools, Falkner has toured the United States as a guest artist, speaker, and consultant and was the featured performer at President Barack Obama’s Grassroots Ball at the 2009 Presidential Inauguration. He teaches at Vassar College and Columbia University’s Teachers College, where he is an Arthur Zankel Fellow and PhD candidate in the English and Education program.

Lauren Whitehead is a playwright, poet, performer, educator, and a Master of Fine Arts recipient from Columbia University and a Schubert Presidential Fellow. She has presented at various venues around the country, including the Sundance Film Festival, the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, and the Nuyorican Poets Café, among many others.

Whitehead has been featured on the HBO documentary “Russell Simmons Presents Brave New Voices” and has appeared on NPR’s “Talk of the Nation” with Neal Conan. Her poems have been published in selected anthologies, including “3 Hole Punch” (Red Beard Press, 2009) and “UnSquared” (826michigan, 2006). Her most recent work, “stunning, still,” a full-length play, has been presented at the Vineyard Arts Project and Naked Angels 1st Mondays Play Reading Series.

Aziza Barnes is “blk & alive.” Her first chapbook, “me Aunt Jemima and the nailgun” (Button Poetry, 2015), was the first winner of the Exploding Pinecone Prize and published by Button Poetry. You can find her work in PANK, pluck!, Muzzle, Callaloo, Union Station, and other journals.

She is a poetry and non-fiction editor at Kinfolks Quarterly, a Callaloo fellow, and graduate from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She is a member of the Dance Cartel and the Divine Fabrics Collective. She loves a good suit and anything to do with Motown. Born in Los Angeles, Barnes is currently an MFA candidate in Creative Writing at the University of Mississippi.

Caroline Rothstein is a New York City-based award-winning writer, poet and performer. Caroline’s motto is “from adversity comes triumph,” empowering individuals to embrace self-confidence and authenticity. She was a member of the 2010 Nuyorican Poets Cafe slam team, which placed second at the 2010 National Poetry Slam, and is a youth Mentor at Urban Word NYC. Her work has appeared in Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, BuzzFeed, Narratively, The Forward, Williams Magazine, and elsewhere.

As a multi-media journalist, Rothstein is a producer on the forthcoming documentary “The Kids” and was an associate producer on Andrea B. Scott’s “Florence, Arizona.” She hosts the YouTube series “Body Empowerment” and sits as president emeritus of the board of directors for Mental Fitness, Inc. Her award-winning one-woman play faith about her experience with and recovery from an eating disorder debuted as part of the Culture Project’s Women Center Stage 2012 Festival.

For more information on the Dialogue Arts Festival in Tunkhannock, contact Katie Wisnosky at

Learn more about the Breaking Ground Poets in Episode 19 of the NEPA Scene Podcast: